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Shelter manager Noelle Howard, center, poses with volunteers and supporters at Saturday's open house.
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Mayor Jennifer Macksey and Howland cut the ribbon on the collaborative animal shelter on Saturday.
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Director Noelle Howland talks with visitors as Knight, the last dog to be adopted from Sonsini, has a treat in the background.
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The dog room at the shelter. There's also runs outdoors.
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The mayor shows off the stocked cabinets in the cat room.
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The cat room.
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The North County shelter will continue the mission of Eleanor Sonsini, an animal advocate and longtime Pittsfield animal control officer who died in 1994.
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The shelter's first guests are four cats and four kittens, with some more kittens expected.

North County's First Animal Shelter Opens in North Adams

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Four kittens born at the shelter that will be up for adoption once they're old enough. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The nonprofit No Paws Left Behind animal shelter was overflowing visitors, balloons and donated supplies at Saturday's open house. 
 
North County's first animal shelter is operating out of the city's municipal shelter on Hodges Cross Road. 
 
"We're very excited for this to open," said Mayor Jennifer Macksey. "It's been a very underutilized space."
 
The space — office, supply room, kennels for cats and dogs and a secure transport entrance — was created inside the Department of Public Service's building several years ago through a grant. 
 
The location was perfect for No Paws, a successor to the Eleanor Sonsini Animal Shelter in Pittsfield. Manager Noelle Howland had been in charge of Sonsini when it closed last summer and launched a fund drive to try to keep shelter open in some form. 
 
"I wanted it to be in North Adams," said Howland, who lives in the city. "I wanted to do that, this is the first shelter North Adams has had. ...
 
"I feel like I waited so long for it to happen and then it came before I knew it and I was like, oh, we're doing it."
 
The nonprofit is renting the space for a nominal fee of $200 a month and plus utilities. In return, it will handle any strays that are picked up by Police Officer Matthew Reynolds, the animal control officer, and will assist in the animals' care. 
 
The shelter doesn't open to the public for another week — staff will be training this week and caring for any animals brought in by authorities — but it already has some occupants. Several cats are in the quarantine room including a young mom who had four babies after being brought in. 
 
The open house was well attended with residents arriving to tour the facility and ask questions about its operation. The nonprofit was taking donations and also had a table of merchandise to raise funds. 
 
Naureen Collins arrived with a pile of dog beds to add to the bags and boxes of food, treats and litter. 
 
"I've been taking rescues in all my life and I've had dogs from huge to little tiny and I have a little tiny one now," she said. "So I had been saving all this stuff forever hoping that there would be some place up in Northern Berkshire that I could bring them and make use of them."
 
Collins said another shelter has been desperately needed since Sonsini closed. 
 
"The Humane Society is great but it's far away and this is closer and it gives us an opportunity to help some more animals that are in need," she said. "I'm thrilled that this is here, because we need it. We need a place for the strays to go and for people to be able to not have to travel that far."
 
Collins said her daughter is a dog lover, too, and is hoping to volunteer. 
 
Howland said the shelter is taking applications for volunteers and fosters
 
"One of [the board members] is going to handle a lot of the volunteers for me," said Howland. "So she will make up the schedule for me so that way she takes off something on my plate."
 
The shelter is only for cats and dogs but Howland says she will be prepared for limited emergency intakes of small animals through the police. Other animals or those from outside the state or region will not be accepted. 
 
Police will be in charge of returning strays to their owners; if no animal is claimed within 10 days, the shelter will take over and place them up for adoption. 
 
Howland said she has a good relationship with Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield (which had some representatives come to the open house) and will be working with Greylock Animal Hospital, which has some members on the shelter's board. 
 
The shelter will also be accepting more donations of litter, food (Purina Pro preferred) and treats. Also, said Howland, "a lot of cleaning supplies because we go through them like crazy." Donated items can be dropped at the shelter or donations can be made through the website. The shelter posted a list of what it can and can't accept. 
 
"We're very excited to partner with No Paws Left Behind because we need the support for the ACO to care for the animals we take," said the mayor. 

 


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Weekend Outlook: Blueberries, Festivals, and More

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
There are a variety of events this weekend, including a festivals, live music, and more.  
 
See a list of Farmer's Markets here
 
Editor's Pick 
 
Mountain Day featuring Whiskey Treaty Roadshow
Bousquet Mountain, Pittsfield 
Time: 1 to 10:30 p.m.
 
Dance to the rhythm of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and other performers as mountains surround you. The ski resort's Mountain Day festival returns, featuring performances by Bella's Bartok, Vaguely Pagan, Love Crumbs, Jackson Whalan, and, of course, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow. Information here
 
 
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